How to Implement Lean Manufacturing – Sort and Shine (5S): Part 3

Rick Bohan

Each area will have a team associated with it that will be responsible for actually carrying out the Sort and Shine activities in the area.  Generally, the team will comprise those who actually work in the area.  Some peripheral areas might need a team assigned to them.

Each team should have a Sort and Shine Leader.  (One of my clients referred to them as Agile Leaders because the overall initiative was referred to as Agile Manufacturing.)  That Leader might be the present supervisor or team lead. Or it might be someone new.

A word or two about the Sort and Shine Leaders…they ARE NOT, alone, responsible for implementing Sort and Shine in their areas.  It’s important to get this across to everyone.  They ARE responsible for most of the administrative part of the initiative.

We’ve talked about the two types of schedules that the Sort and Shine Teams need to develop.  Staying on schedule is the teams’ primary responsibility.  Carrying out regular self-reviews is also part of the teams’ duties.

The teams probably need to be trained in the basics of 5S.  I say “probably” because I’m one to think that 5S is pretty easily understood, especially given the manner we’re tackling it.  But a two-hour session devoted to the “why’s and wherefore’s” of 5S and the manner in which your company is deploying it can’t hurt.

My experience is that, as straightforward as the teams’ duties are (Sort and Shine and keep it that way), they’ll need a good bit of assistance, oversight, support and outright “nagging” to get the job done, at least at first.  In too many organizations, “housekeeping” is what you did the last few minutes of a shift…if you felt like it or if the supervisor actually cared and was nearby .  The transition from this approach to true Workplace Organization encompasses behavior changes on everyone’s part that seem to be more difficult than one might think.


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